New Accessible Features 22/01/2020 - Can't Tab through page content

Jan 22, 2020


Am I missing something? I updated Articulate this morning and now I cannot tab to anything on the screen except navigation buttons. Also the screen reader does not seem to read out anything except the alt-text on the buttons. 

83 Replies
Amy Maltzan

I agree completely, William. I've been following this thread (and other related threads) since the beginning since we are experiencing the same issues, and also rolled back a version so that we can continue course production to meet deadlines. Up until this release, we had a pretty well-defined process for developing and testing our courses using tab order and alt text so that they met our institution's accessibility standards, but this process no longer works with the latest release. Multiple Storyline license holders at our institution are now coming to my team (who owns the licenses) with confusion about why JAWS is now reading entire screens, ignoring some objects they have included in a specific tab order, and questioning why the user cannot control how things are now read on the screen as they could in the past. We've recommended that our Storyline users roll back a version until these issues are addressed and we can make updated recommendations.

I've seen it mentioned that there are open cases logged with Articulate support about this behavior, but agree with William that it's frustrating to see little acknowledgement in the thread of what specific issues are being addressed so we can plan ahead. Can someone from Articulate please provide an update as to what's being acknowledged as an issue, and what's being worked on? Thanks.

William Beardsley

Thanks Nicole this explains things a little better. Articulate is still exploring the issues I've raised and acknowledged that some of them are bugs (or perhaps design flaws). The only thing that Diane did not address was how all this works when you do not use all the player options (as with her example). From a design perspective we use all our own buttons and mostly turn off all the player features. We do use the menu but usually as a drop down not as a side menu but there are also times when we construct our own menus. I will explore what Diane had to say a little further and continue discussions with Articulate.

Diane Elkins

Thanks for sharing my link, Nicole! William, you are correct--I only showcased the standard player elements. We don't ever use custom interface elements for accessible courses because there wouldn't be a skip navigation feature. I'm curious, how do you manage skip navigation with your own buttons? I'd love to explore options for clients who want a more custom look.

William Beardsley

Hi Diane,

We have always felt that we did not want to disadvantage the majority of our users in order to cater for those using screen readers (we want to do our best for everyone). We design for our whole organisation (around 10,000 employees) and only a small percentage use screen readers or are keyboard only users). We want to make sure that our users get the best interactive experience possible but, given that our organisation has a strong policy around accessibility we work closely with those who use screen readers to make sure with give them the best experience possible too. Yes, this means that we do not provide access to the skip navigation feature but this has not proven a problem at this stage.

Susan Nabonne Beck

Hi All,

I am experiencing the same thing with the new version. Additionally, I thought read that SL was not going to identify the state of an object (which is necessary for WCAG AAA standards). I have tested multiple built-in states and it does not identify the state. In fact, it will not read the lat text for any built-in state. I had to create all custom states (and triggers) in order for my course to pass Accessibility compliance testing. 

Keeping in the loop with any word from SL. 

I am also more than happy to serve as an advisory board member for accessibility programming as I feel it has actually gone backwards. =(

jack keena

Hi All,

I am also experiencing some very weird issues with accessibility since the previous update.

When opening the stoy.html file in google chrome - it reads out multiple tab headings etc before getting to the content.

The screen reader does not read the content within text boxes(they are part of the tab order).

I can then use the tab key to navigate to buttons which it does read out. I am currently unable to make the screen reader play through the content consistently in any way!

Is anyone else having a similar issue? I am not sure if my screen reader(NVDA) settings are off or Story line is currently broken.



David Price

Hi all, I am colleague of Jack (above) and have been looking into the same issue.

This may be a bit of a red herring but I found something in common with text that is and isn't being read.  I thought the problem may be in the output code so I have been stepping through the JS files in the output.

For text that is being read by the screen reader (I am using the built in Mac accessibility features, not a screen reader) the text blocks have this: {"kind":"hotarea"....

For text that isn't being read it has this: {"kind":"textdata".... along with a further tag that says this "type":"vectortext".

The ones that are being ignored are being rendered as vectortext whereas the ones that are being read don't have a vectortext tag in the code anywhere (that I can find).

As said, this could be a complete red herring but I have checked through the JS for multiple pages and this seems to be the common factor.  My knowledge of JS isn't good enough to make changes to it but maybe it's something the devs can look at.

I am happy to provide source files and outputs to the dev team if required.

Here is a snippet of code to show you:

Being ignored by the screen reader

Isn't being ignored by the screen reader
{"kind":"hotarea","xPos":74,"yPos":377,"width":354,"height":38}]}]}],"shapemaskId":"","xPos":90,"yPos":226,"tabIndex":1,"tabEnabled":true,"xOffset":0,"yOffset":0,"rotateXPos":797,"rotateYPos":283.5,"scaleX":100,"scaleY":100,"alpha":100,"depth":3,"scrolling":true,"shuffleLock":false,"data":{"hotlinkId":"","accState":0,"vectorData":{"left":0,"top":0,"right":1594,"bottom":567,"altText":"Safeguarding training is a Minimum Deployment Requirement for many governing bodies of sport. The Minimum Deployment Requirements are seen as the basic standards every coach needs to meet to carry out their role safely and effectively. It can also be attended by all those responsible for organising children’s sport...........
Kim Gillham

This whole thing is crazy - we have just updated a course and republished and now it isn't suitable for our client. 

And the issue I have here is the removal of control on the user's part - isn't this why we don't automatically play videos, sounds, animations??? We want our learners to have control over their experience. It is an absolute joke.

I'll attempt a support request but not holding my breath. 

Thanks for all the previous comments. 

William Beardsley

Hi Kim,

I'm sorry that you have had this experience. Many are uncertain as to how these new features should work and Articulate is aware that there are issues that need to be fixed. In the meantime you could roll back your Articulate version to version 35 (December 19 - 2019) which will remove these new features and allow you to republish using a version that you are use to.

jack keena

Hi Kim,

Yeah I completely agree with you.

I understand what Articulate are trying to do with the new features but for me they just do no work at all.

It feels like the latest changes haven't been thought through very well.

As William said rolling back to the December 19th update will take you back to the version you are used to - I had to do it for some content I am  working on and it all works as expected again.

Ren Gomez

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to reach out and assure you all that your voices are being heard. We acknowledge that there’s been some confusion with all the changes, and we want to make efforts to help clarify why we made them. Our accessibility journey isn’t finished, and we’re making continual progress in our work.

We’ve rolled out a comparison article of the user experience before and after to help explain the enhancements.

We’ve also revised our article regarding slide content for some recent updates and more in-depth detail, as well as added a What’s Next section for the next round of enhancements.

Feel free to take a look and share your thoughts with us!

Katie Riggio

Happy Tuesday! ☀️

Say hello to Update 41 for Storyline 360: As with Web and LMS output, you can now experience the latest accessibility enhancements added in Storyline 360 when you publish courses to Review 360. Learn more.

Amy Nicholson

Hi Leslie - Yes. The problem I'm having is that it seems, when using a screen reader (e.g., NVIDIA or JAWS) with a SL360 published file, the screen reader only tabs to and reads objects that are buttons (clickable). So for example, a paragraph of text is missed. The reader never recognizes it. 

This has been happening for a while I believe with a slightly older version of SL360, so I updated to the latest hoping it would help; it did not. 

When I try to role back to a previous version that does not have this issue, as Kim suggested, I do not see a Dec 19 option. 

Perhaps you can provide me with a link to that version? 

Joe Waddington

After the big January update, Articulate made another change in February in the way the screen reader interacts with your courses. Storyline 360: Slide Content Is More Accessible. The change required me to make a paradigm shift in how screen reader users access our content.

The old way was to tab through everything and the screen reader read whatever it was on.

The new way is that Tab takes you to only those things that the learners can interact with - buttons, slides, etc. If the user wants to read through text boxes and items on the screen, they use the up & down arrows. This, according to Articulate, brings it more in line with how the users interact with web content. 

The downside for us as developers is that there is no focus frame for objects when you use the arrows to navigate through items. So, without a screen reader, you are stuck assuming that your tab order is correct. 

It took me a while to wrap my head around this, and a lot of testing and playing around. I created this video (Jaws Demo) for a team in my community of practice, and they seemed to find it useful. It's pretty raw, but hopefully it helps. 

I also include a slide at the very beginning of the course that give instructions to keyboard and screen reader users, with instructions on how to navigate through the course (see below). I use a text to speech voice to read it as soon as the slide starts. Hopefully this helps the learner with any initial confusion. 

Course Accessibility
This course includes a menu, closed captions, and an audio transcript on each page.
Keyboard Only Users:
Press Tab and Shift+Tab to move from one interactive object to another on the slide. Press the spacebar or the Enter key to activate an item.
Screen Reader Users:
This version of the course has been optimized for JAWS screen reader 16 or later.
Audio narrations play automatically throughout the course. It is recommended you wait until the narration completes, then use the arrow keys to navigate through items on each slide. Users may press the Tab key to cycle through interactive elements. Press the spacebar or Enter key to activate the interactive object.

This was a tough transition for me. I required me to rethink things... not so much my design process, but my testing process. I initially pushed back, refusing to update Articulate. I didn't get on board until a month or two ago, when I was able to sit down and test things and really get a feel for how the new changes worked. 

I hope this helps you.


Amy Nicholson

Hi Joe - Really appreciate you taking the time to post this. I still don't get it ... I opened my NVIDIA and it reads the browser tab name and a bunch of other Chrome nonsense (automatically) but even using the arrow keys (and enter, and tab ... I tried it all) it will not read the text unless it is on an interactive object. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. 

Joe Waddington

Weird. I know I sometimes have trouble getting the reader to start reading the info in the browser window, and not the browser itself (address bar, tabs, shortcuts, etc.) I chalk that up to my inexperience with the tool.

Have you tried to use the read all command - Insert+down arrow?

NVDA Keyboard Shortcuts